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Tweeting About Open Data

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

I’m plotting a year of exploring the Trendwatch 2015 themes: Sometimes via live events  (keep an eye on the CFM’s web page for upcoming engagements), but mostly over the web. I hope you will find an opportunity to dive in. 
First up, a CFM Twitter chat on Open Data on Friday, March 13 from 1–2 p.m. (ET). Twitter chats are a great way to pool the collective knowledge, resources and ideas of our colleagues. 
This chat will be co-hosted by Ed Rodley, associate director of integrated media at the Peabody Essex Museum. Ed blogs at Thinking about Museums, and wrote a marvelous essay—quoted in TrendsWatch—on why museums should give their data away (The Virtues of Promiscuity).
(Also for your radar on the topic of “open,” a Google+ Hangout on Open Licensing organized by the Alliance’s Media & Technology Professional Network and the New Media Consortium. It will be held Thursday, March 5, 2–3 p.m. (ET). Highly recommend!) 

Recap of the Trend

The open data movement is about getting information out in the world where it can be mined, mashed up and put to work. This means putting data onto the web in standardized, accessible formats. We are in the midst of a huge push to make U.S. government data “open”–not only commonly used resources like census information but also previously inaccessible information such as databases generated by government-funded research. In the museum realm, see the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ recently established Data Catalog

What we will do in the Chat and how you can prepare

Here a few things you can do in advance to make the chat a useful & enjoyable event:
Read the chapter in TrendsWatch 2015 on open data. You can download a free copy here.
Take time before the chat to queue up some material that you want to share ahead of time: text and links you can copy and paste into tweets during the chat. (That makes it much easier to pay attention to what everyone else is tweeting.) 
For example, we will be inviting you to share:
  • Resources: links to papers, websites, that provide information & tools about open data
  • Authorities: blog addresses and Twitter handles for people you look to for smart commentary on this topic

Examples of museums working in various ways with open data: creating APIs for their museum’s digital resources; hosting hackathons; doing interesting things with other people’s open data
As well as your thoughts on:
  • Your dream application for open data: what datasets would you like to mine, to what end? 
  • As we move towards a presumption of “open,” what kinds of data is it acceptable for museums to redact or conceal? 
Skip over related stories to continue reading article

How To Participate

If you do not already have one, create a Twitter account. Really folks, it’s not all “here’s what I had for breakfast” & “check out the LOL cats.” There are many people sharing useful resources via tweets, as well as reporting out in real time from conferences & events you may not be able to attend. Follow @futureofmuseums (that’s me) and check out the list of folks I follow for some ideas.
On Friday, March 13, during the chat period of 1–2 p.m. (ET), tweet using the hashtag #TrendsWatch. 
You can focus on just the tweets related to the chat (out of all the tweets in your stream) by using Twitter’s own search tool, or a third-party tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite, to filter the conversation with the #TrendsWatch hashtag
Ed and I will tweet questions in the format 
Q#: (for example, Q1: what are some articles, resources, sites you recommend for info on Open data?)
Then you tweet your contributions in the format 
A#: (e.g., A1: I recommend following Code|Word essays on Medium [Twitter will abbreviate the link]
I will summarize and post the conversation after it wraps up, but I hope you choose to engage in real time! This chat is also a good opportunity to find, and follow, other Tweeters who synch with your interests.
Hope to Tweet with you on the 13th. 

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